Chaka Khan is one of the world’s most gifted and celebrated musicians. With a rich musical legacy, the 10-time Grammy® Award-winner is looking forward to a celebration of a lifetime. A songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist, Chaka Khan has influenced generations of recording artists. She has the rare ability to sing in seven music genres, including R&B, pop, rock, gospel, country, world music and classical. Affectionately known around the world as Chaka, she is revered by millions of fans as well as by her peers for her timeless, classic and unmatched signature music style and ability. The late, great Miles Davis often said, “She [Chaka] sings like my horn.” And the dearly missed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, once declared, “[Chaka] is a one-of-a-kind, premier vocalist.”
Throughout her legendary career, Chaka has released 22 albums and racked up ten #1 Billboard magazine charted songs, seven RIAA certified gold singles and ten RIAA certified gold and platinum albums. Chaka’s recorded music has produced over 2,000 catalog song placements. “I am honored and blessed to celebrate 45 years in music and entertainment,” says Chaka. “I am so humbled by the love, support and gracious spirit of my fans worldwide and the continuous support my peers have shown over the years. Throughout my 45-year career, I have been through the fire a few times over, and I’m still here as a living testament to God’s love and grace.”
Early on, she caught the attention of music icon Stevie Wonder, who penned her first smash hit with Rufus, “Tell Me Something Good.” The single from the group’s 1974 platinum-selling album, Rags to Rufus, earned Chaka her first Grammy® Award. With Chaka as the group’s dynamic center, Rufus became one of the most popular acts around, selling out shows throughout the country and dominating the airwaves with hit after hit with songs such as “You Got the Love,” which Chaka co-wrote, “Once You Get Started,” “Sweet Thing,” “Everlasting Love,” “Do You Love What You Feel?” and “Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka’s second Grammy® Award-winning song with Rufus. Rufus and Chaka Khan racked up five RIAA certified gold and platinum albums during their time together.
It was inevitable that a singer with Chaka’s star power would eventually venture out on her own. In 1978, Chaka blazed onto the music scene as a solo artist with the release of the smash hit “I’m Every Woman” written by Ashford & Simpson. Paired with the late producer extraordinaire, Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler), her catalog grew even more impressive, with hits such as “Clouds,” “Papillon” and “What ‘Cha Gonna Do For Me?” It was during this time that Chaka began pursuing her love of jazz. She and Arif brilliantly re-worked the classic song “Night in Tunisia” with the song’s originator, Dizzy Gillespie, on trumpet. Chaka also recorded an album of jazz standards titled Echoes of an Era, which featured such luminaries as Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Her crowning achievement in jazz was the Grammy® Award-winning tune, “Be Bop Medley.” The song’s album, titled Chaka Khan, also won a Grammy® for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
However, the song that made Chaka Khan a household name and propelled her to superstardom the world over was “I Feel for You,” written and first performed by Prince. This chart-topping, Grammy® Award-winning song also made music history: released in 1984, it was the first R&B song to feature a rap, which was performed by Grandmaster Melle Mel. Chaka also topped the charts with “This is My Night” and the instant classic, “Through the Fire.” Now in top demand, Chaka lent her voice and producer skills to two of the biggest hits of 1986, Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” and Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.” Both were Grammy®-winning songs.
In 1995, she made her musical theater debut on London’s West End, where she starred in Mama I Want to Sing. In 2002 she traveled to Las Vegas, where she starred in Signed, Sealed Delivered, a critically-acclaimed musical based on the music of Stevie Wonder. Her Broadway debut came in 2008 when she took over the role of Sofia in Oprah Winfrey’s musical of The Color Purple.
Chaka’s emotive vocals can also be heard on a number of soundtracks, including Clockers, Set It Off, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, Miami Vice, White Knights, Moscow on the Hudson, Disappearing Acts, Waiting to Exhale and Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, as well as the hit Tyler Perry comedies Madea’s Family Reunion and Meet The Browns.
Chaka has received a steady stream of accolades for both her artistry and philanthropy. In June 2012 she was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2011, she was honored for her legendary career with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During the same year, Chaka was honored with the United Negro College Fund’s An Evening of Stars Tribute. In recent years, Chaka also received the Soul Train Legend Award (2009), the BET Lifetime Achievement Award (2006) and the World Music Award Lifetime Achievement Award (2003). In 2004 Chaka received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.
Despite her busy schedule, Chaka has always made time to support and uplift her community. She has a deep commitment to women and children at risk, which led her to establish the Chaka Khan Foundation in 1999. In July 2012 Chaka received the McDonald Corporation’s 365Black Award, honoring her for her leadership of the Chaka Khan Foundation.
With a new svelte look, a new album and a great enthusiasm for her new and expanding activities in music, philanthropy and entrepreneurial ventures, the 10-time Grammy® Award-winner is looking forward to a celebration of a lifetime.